R2 values range from 0 to 1. Values closer to 1 indicate that remote sensing dNBR values correspond favorably to observed burn severity during ground assessment CBI. The boreal forest and tundra of Alaska are fire-adapted ecosystems, and they are characterized by a mosaic of different aged landscapes that are maintained by fire.
In this system, burn severity strongly influences vegetation pat-terns and succession after fire. Since many of the plant species are rooted in the organic forest floor mat, the amount of consumption of the organic mat will determine whether vegetation regeneration occurs through seeding or re-sprouting post-fire Viereck and Schandelmeier If fire severity is low to moderate, above-ground portions of plants may be top-killed, but minimal organic mat or duff is burned.
Regeneration can occur quickly through re-sprouting from roots and stems for species such as aspen, paper birch, Labrador tea, willow, resin birch, rose, fire-weed, tussocks, or northern blue joint grass Foote , Viereck and Schandelmeier , Racine et al.
On the other hand, severe burns will consume most of the organic layer and kill most of the underground root structure of shrubs and herbaceous plants, so that reproduction will occur primarily by seed Figure 4. As a result, severity will influence the plant species composition at a site. Figure 6. The graph shows different spectral responses or relative brightness values between burned and unburned vegetation in the six Landsat bandwidths. Note how Bands 4 and 7 respond the most, but in opposite ways; yielding information that is distilled in the NBR to focus on fire effects.
Landsat Band Reflectance Difference: Burned vs. Unburned Areas. Figure 7. Left Burn severity map of the 18, acre Foraker A Fire. This fire burned in Denali National Park and Preserve during Figure 8. Burn severity and the resulting changes in vegetation can influence wildlife distri-bution and site utilization. Patchy fires created by varying severity are often used by snowshoe hares and marten Paragi et al.
Small mammals, such as yellow-cheeked voles often flourish after fires, creating large colonies in the partially burned duff and feeding on the young herbaceous vegetation Swanson Moose often take advantage of the newly sprouted willows and deciduous trees after fires. Research has shown that caribou avoid the use of recent burns during the winter due to the decreased amount of lichens, which caribou eat in the winter Joly et al.
However, researchers have not studied how the mosaic of severity affects moose or caribou habitat and the long-term influence this patchwork will have. Burn severity maps provide baseline information that can be used for management, monitoring, modeling, and research. Currently, burn severity maps are used to refine and improve final fire perimeters by fire management.
Burn severity maps also provide a means to identify unburned islands within fire perimeters, which can be used to determine whether study sites within a fire perimeter have burned and the degree of impact. Severity data will be a key explanatory variable for park staff who monitor vegetation, wildlife, water quality, and permafrost. Resource and fire staff are utilizing burn severity maps to update land-cover vegetation and fuels maps to reflect changes from recent fires.
Drinking Water Quality
These predictive maps have been used in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve to model changes in bird habitat utilization and will be used to model fire behavior and fire spread for fire management. The severity of fires plays a role in permafrost degradation, nutrient cycling, and water quality parameters Dyrness et al. Assessing permafrost degradation is a critical component in determining the potential for soil erosion and run-off problems; burn severity maps are used to assess the impact of fire to permafrost. Finally, burn severity mapping provides baseline information that can be used to assess the effects of climate change over time.
This partnership has produced burn severity datasets for more than fires occurring in nearly 60 NPS units. Figure 9.
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Landsat satellite imagery has been used to generate burn severity maps for 27 fires occurring in six NPS units between and Viereck, and K. Van Cleve. Fire in taiga communities of Interior Alaska. Van Cleve, F. Publisher: Academic Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.
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Wildland Water Quality Sampling and Analysis
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